Tue, May 23, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Tommy Robredo loses sleep ahead of Hamburg final


Tommy Robredo lacked sleep as well as a coach, got locked in the player restaurant, and his practice partner was the water-cooler guy.

Circumstances in Hamburg weren't the best for Robredo, but they didn't prevent him from beating Radek Stepanek 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 for his first Masters title on Sunday, and setting himself up as one of the favorites for the French Open.

"That I won today does not mean I will win every match or win in Paris, but it does mean I am in good shape," said the Barcelona-based Robredo, a two-time French Open quarterfinalist.

Being the first Masters final of his career, Robredo slept poorly the night before his big match.

"I got up three times in the night," he said. "I wasn't thinking about the match but my body knew it was going to play the final and it was nervous."

Because all week he was slated for late matches, there was no one around to practice with Robredo. The ATP found him an unconventional sparring partner, with little experience.

"I finished the quarterfinals at midnight and I asked the guy from the ATP to find me somebody to warm up with me," Robredo said. ``That's how I got him. His name was Ollie. I asked him what he was doing here and he said he's the guy who puts the water bottles in the machine.''

But Robredo appreciated the help as well as the uncomplicated company.

Without a coach since recently splitting with Mariano Monachesi, Robredo said he'd been getting lonely.

Martina Hingis won her first title since coming out of retirement and said her three years away from the game helped propel her to victory.

Hingis beat 16th-seeded Dinara Safina 6-2, 7-5 in the final for the 41st title of her career, but first since winning in Tokyo more than four years ago.

After storming through the first set in 27 minutes and taking a 4-1 lead in the second, Hingis faced three break points that would have sent the second set to a tiebreaker before she gathered herself and served the match out.

"I lived a different life and experienced a lot of things, and that probably helps me today in those moments," Hingis said.

Hingis returned in January after nearly three years out of the game with foot and ankle injuries.

"If I could turn back time, of course I would have continued to play. But at that point it wasn't possible -- the pain and the operations," she said. "Right now I'm very happy that my health is as good as it is."

Meghann Shaughnessy of the US won her fourth career title, beating eighth-seeded Martina Sucha of Slovakia 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 on clay at the Grand Prix SAR.

The unseeded American was appearing in her eighth final and first since Memphis, Tennessee in February 2005.

After starting the year without a win in five straight tournaments, the former 11th-ranked player has won 14 of her last 20 matches.

Sucha hadn't won consecutive matches on tour this year before this week.

Defending champion Germany beat Italy 2-1 and Chile topped Spain 3-0 on the opening day of the World Team Cup.

Nicolas Kiefer of Germany fought off two set points before winning the opening set on his fifth set point, and then swept the final four games to beat Filippo Volandri 7-6 (10), 6-3.

A leg injury stopped Philipp Kohlschreiber's momentum after he recovered from dropping the second set to Davide Sanguinetti. After breaking the Italian twice to lead 3-0, Kohlschreiber called for medical help on his right leg. He then won only one of the next seven games as Sanguinetti went on to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

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